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Title: Winter camelina: Crop growth, seed yield and quality response to cultivar and seeding rate

item Gesch, Russell - Russ
item Matthees, Heather
item ALVAREZ, ADRIANA - University Of Minnesota
item GARDNER, ROBERT - University Of Minnesota

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2018
Publication Date: 7/2/2018
Publication URL:
Citation: Gesch, R.W., Matthees, H.L., Alvarez, A., Gardner, R.D. 2018. Winter camelina: Crop growth, seed yield and quality response to cultivar and seeding rate. Crop Science. 58:2089-2098.

Interpretive Summary: Camelina is a new crop to the U.S. that has gained considerable interest as an oilseed feedstock for advanced biofuels such as “green jet” fuel and as a source of oil for healthy food uses because of its high level of Omega-3 fatty acids. There are two types of camelina, spring and winter camelina. Winter camelina has very good freeze survival, so it can be planted in the fall, it emerges and over-winters, and then can be harvested the following spring. In fact, it can be harvested early enough in the spring that a farmer can grow a second crop such as soybean after camelina harvest, which is known as double-cropping. Although most research and development of camelina has involved spring-types, little is known about the genetic diversity of winter-types or how to best manage their agricultural production. Therefore, we ran a three-year field experiment to study differences in winter survival, productivity, and seed quality of four different winter camelina varieties planted at three different seeding rates. The variety Joelle had superior winter survival, the highest seed oil content, and its seed oil contained the highest level of oleic acid, which is a fatty acid valued for food and biofuel uses. Bison, another variety tested, consistently had the highest seed yield and the largest seed size, an important trait for planting and harvesting, while two other varieties, WG4-1 and WG1-35 matured earlier and had higher seed protein content than Joelle and Bison. Identifying these traits and varietal differences provides crop breeders with information to develop improved lines of winter camelina with seed quality targeted for food and/or biofuel uses. Also, we demonstrated that planting at around 62 seeds per square foot was near optimum for crop establishment. This information will also benefit extension specialists, ag consultants, and growers in selecting winter varieties and optimum seeding rates best suited for double-cropping in upper Midwestern environments.

Technical Abstract: Winter camelina [Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz] is a freeze-hardy, early maturing, winter annual crop that allows potential for dual cropping options in short-season temperate environments. However, little is known about genotypic variation of winter camelina or best management for its production. Traits including earlier maturity and improved seed yield and quality would benefit its large-scale adoption as a cash cover crop. A three-year field study was conducted in west central Minnesota, USA, to evaluate the productivity and seed quality of four winter camelina genotypes (Joelle, Bison, HPX-WG1-35, and HPX-WG4-1) at three different sowing rates (334, 668, and 1000 seed m-2). Joelle camelina had the highest winter survival rate ranging from 50 to 90% across three growing seasons. Although plant density generally increased with seeding rate, it only impacted seed yield one out of three years. Overall, Bison yielded the greatest (944 kg ha-1) followed by Joelle (865 kg ha-1), while HPX-WG1-35 (650 kg ha-1) was the lowest. Both HPX-WG1-35 and HPX-WG4-1 flowered earlier than the other two cultivars and had greater seed protein content. Joelle seed had the highest oil content, averaging 407 g kg-1, and had significantly greater oleic (C18:1) and lower linoleic acid (C18:2) contents than the other cultivars. There was no cultivar or environment difference with respect to erucic acid (C22:1) content, which averaged 2.2% across genotypes. Results indicate that genotypic variation exists in winter camelina for improvement of key traits to increase its productivity and use in dual cropping systems.